This webpage provides statewide resources including advocacy, education, equipment, state employment and ADA information for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Illinois. If you see a specific program that should be added on this page, please contact IDHHC with your recommendation.
ADVOCACY / GENERAL INFORMATION
Centers for Independent Living (CIL): Core services include information and referral related to disability law and awareness, peer support, independent living skills, and self-advocacy assistance. Some CILs may also provide: interpreter/reader referrals, transportation and housing assistance, and Disability awareness training.
Chicago Hearing Society (CHS): Provides communication access, hearing and assistive technologies, and support services for persons who are Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing.
CHOICES for Parents: A statewide coalition of parents and professionals ensuring that children with identified hearing loss and their families receive the necessary resources, advocacy, information, services and support.
Equip for Equality (EFE): Promotes self-advocacy and serves as a legal advocate for people with disabilities, and handles individual cases and systems-change litigation to achieve broad-based societal reforms.
Family Matters: Parent Training & Information Center: Build upon families' strengths, empowers parents and professionals to achieve the strongest possible outcomes for students with disabilities, and to enhance the qualify of life for children and young adults with disabilities.
Family Resource Center on Disabilities: Provides parents of children with disabilities with information, training and assistance including rights and responsibilities under the IDEA, make informed decisions on your child's IEP plans, obtain appropriate services for your child,
Guide By Your Side (GBYS): Offers parent-to-parent support. Parents of child(ren) who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing have been trained to provide unbiased support, resources and to mentor other parents whose children have been identified having a hearing loss. GBYS is partnered by CHOICES for Parents, Illinois Hands & Voices, and the Illinois Early Hearing Detection & Intervention Program.
Helen Keller National Center for DeafBlind Youths & Adults (HKNC): Provides training and resources exclusively to people age 16 and over who have combined vision and hearing loss; Students across the country travel to the headquarter in New York for an on-campus training in assistive technology, vocational services, orientation and mobility, communication and independent living; regional offices are also located around the country to bring HKNC resources to communities.
Illinois Association of the Deaf (IAD): Illinois' leading civil rights organization of, by and for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, DeafBlind Illinoisans.
Illinois Early Hearing Detection & Intervention Program: Works with parents and providers to ensure all babies get screened for hearing loss no later than 1 month of age; all infants who do not pass their hearing receive a diagnostic evaluation no later than 3 months of age; and all infants with a hearing loss enroll in early intervention services no later than 6 months of age. Works with parents and providers to ensure all babies get screened for hearing loss no later than 1 month of age; all infants who do not pass their hearing receive a diagnostic evaluation no later than 3 months of age; and all infants with a hearing loss enroll in early intervention services no later than 6 months of age.
Illinois Hands & Voices: A parent driven, non profit organization that support families with children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing without a bias around communication modes or methodologies.
Illinois School for the Deaf Outreach Program: Supports families, programs, & services for children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing throughout Illinois. The following services are provided: Training on topics associated with hearing loss, consultation & technical assistance, conferences for parents & professionals, assessments to identify educational & vocational needs, and cochlear implant support.
Department of Human Services, Early Intervention: Assures families who have infants and toddlers, birth to age three, with diagnosed disabilities (including hearing/vision loss), developmental delays, or substantial risk of significant delays receive resources and supports that assist them in maximizing their child's development while respecting the diversity of families and communities.
Illinois School for the Deaf (ISD): A state residential school that educate students to become responsible, self-supporting citizens. It provides a safe learning environment that encourages students to attain their highest potential in reading, writing, and mathematics; and empowers students to explore the technological trends and employment opportunities.
Phillip J Rock Center & School: A residential school providing intensive, educational programs and services to DeafBlind individuals ages 3-21 and serves as a resource for services provided in schools, medical settings, early intervention centers and homes.
Illinois Service Resource Center (ISRC): Provides behavior support for students who are deaf or hard of hearing in Illinois and provides training, onsite assistance and resources for parents and educators of students who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), Special Education Services: Partners with school districts to provide programs and services for students with specialized educational needs and assures state and federal requirements are met and regulates the educational interpreters working in the K-12 setting.
Anixter Center administers the National DeafBlind Equipment Distribution program through ICanConnect which provides low-income individuals with combined hearing and vision loss with access to telephone, advanced communications and information services. For more information, contact Jason Weiland at JWeiland@anixter.org.
Illinois Assistive Technology Program (IATP): Promotes the availability of assistive technology services and programs for people with disabilities and serves all people with disabilities in Illinois, their families, service providers, state agencies, private industry, educators, and other interested individuals, regardless of age or income.
Illinois Telecommunications Access Corporation (ITAC): Provides a Free Equipment Program and Illinois Relay to ensure telephone access for people who are Hard of Hearing, Late Deafened, Deaf, Deaf-Blind or Speech Disabled. ITAC is governed by the Illinois Commerce Commission, a Board of Directors and an Advisory Council.
Central Management Services (CMS): Administers several programs and services for people with disabilities through the Disabled Workers Program in order to increase the number of qualified employees with disabilities working for the state.
Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS): A Statewide Deaf Services Coordinator is available to ensure that effective communication is provided in the delivery of services. For questions or information, contact Rebecca Patton at Rebecca.Patton@illinois.gov, 217 785 2651 (V) or 312 957 4817 (VP).
Department of Human Services (DHS): Offers a comprehensive and coordinated array of social services to help improve the quality of life for thousands of individuals, families and communities across the state. DHS administers community health and prevention programs, oversees interactive provider networks that treat persons with disabilities, mental health and substance abuse challenges and provides rehabilitation services. DHS also aids eligible, low-income individuals and families with essential financial support, locating training and employment opportunities and obtaining child care in addition to other family services.
Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health (DHS-DMH): A Statewide Deaf and Hard of Hearing Coordinator is available to assist in with finding mental health services for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and DeafBlind individuals. For questions or information, check their website or contact Jessena Williams at Jessena.Williams@illinois.gov, 217.786.0023 (V) or 217.303.5807 (VP).
Department of Human Services, Division of Rehabilitation Services (DHS-DRS): Helps individuals, who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Late Deafened, or Deafblind find jobs, get ready to go to work, or obtain services required to maintain employment; and serves as a resource to professionals, state agencies, community organizations, and the public, providing information related to employment, training, and accommodations for persons who have a hearing loss. A listing of Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is available. Filling out an online Rehabilitation Services Referral form in order for a local counselor to contact you is also available. The DRS Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing can be contacted at DHS.DRSSDHH@illinois.gov.
Interagency Committee on Employees with Disabilities (ICED): Advocates for the rights of state employees with disabilities and serves as a resource for state agencies on disability-related issues. Its goals are achieved through education and legislation.
University of Illinois at Springfield, Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC): Focuses on public service, education and research as a basis to provide, promotes and coordinates family-centered, community-based, culturally competent care for eligible children with special health care needs in IL. Helps children with disabilities and those who have conditions which may lead to disabilities grow and develop to the full extent of their abilities.
ENFORCEMENT OF STATE AND FEDERAL DISABILITY LAWS
U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ): Enforces the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), including Title II (State and Local Government Services) and Title III (Public Accommodations); and provides Information and Technical Assistance on the ADA.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): Responsible for enforcing Title I of the ADA and other federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.
Equip for Equality (EFE): Advances the civil and human rights of children and adults with disabilities. Promotes self-advocacy and serves as a legal advocate for people with disabilities, and handles individual cases and system change litigation to achieve broad-based societal reforms.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC): Regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable ensuring strengths and access within nation's communications; and responsible for enforcing Title IV, Telecommunication Relay, of the ADA.
Great Lakes ADA Center (GLADAC): Provides information, materials, technical assistance and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Topics addressed includes the non-discrimination requirements in employment, the obligations of state and local governments and business to ensure that programs, services and activities are readily accessible to and useable by people with disabilities.
Department of Human Rights (DHR): Administers the Illinois Human Right Act. The Act prohibits discrimination in Illinois with respect to employment, financial credit, public accommodations, and housing. The Act also prohibits sexual harassment in education.
Illinois Attorney General, Disability Rights Bureau: Enforces state and federal laws that protect the rights of people with disabilities to equal access to buildings, housing and services including the Environmental Barriers Act; Mediate complaints about assistive technology equipment; Provide technical assistance and referrals to individuals with disabilities and public/private entities seeking to comply with disability laws; Accepts disability rights related complaints (form available).